Degrees and courses for international students
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Research degrees
Being an OU research student
Training and development

Training and development

From general research skills training to development events, our Graduate School provides key training opportunities to complement the subject and project-specific training your faculty provides throughout your studies.


Our Graduate School hosts induction events in October and February, which are mandatory for new students. They’ll give you the information you need to get started in your research, the opportunity to meet other new students and the University’s research community. Each faculty also holds an induction into their own research community.

Research skills training and development

The general research skills training programme and development events provided by our Graduate School are designed to complement and support the training your faculty will provide. Typically, these sessions are provided face-to-face, and are streamed to a moderated online room and recorded for later access. Some of the topics covered include:

  • planning your research
  • managing your wellbeing
  • carrying out a literature review
  • progressing through your student journey
  • preparing for your viva.

All researchers will receive support in general writing and communication skills and Social Science researchers will have specialist training days in methodologies. Day schools also provide concentrated sessions popular with our part-time students.

Our training aligns with the Vitae Researcher Development Framework.

Career advice and development

Our research career development programme is open to all research staff and both part- and full-time research students. It combines targeted training, for those in the first half of their degrees, with events aimed at later-stage research students and early-career researchers.

Research students can also benefit from our Careers Advisory Service, which can help with career planning, CVs, applications and interviews, as well as offering careers webinars and forums.

You can also access careers information, as well as books and other reference materials for loan or to take away, at the OU Library.

Our Graduate School manages student internships in partnership with industry. These provide the opportunity for research students to develop valuable commercial skills, whilst contributing to The OU’s relationships with industrial partnerships.

Additional support

You’ll usually join an established research group when you start your studies. Joining an appropriate and supportive environment will help you build and establish your identity as an independent researcher.

You’ll also have access to the Graduate School Network (GSN) website, which contains information and resources to help you throughout your studies. The GSN contains a rich, expansive library of research skills development materials and resources. It also allows you to access and book face-to-face and online training sessions, workshops and seminars.

The GSN website also hosts help and guidance relating to other University services, such as the OU Library, Careers Service and the OU Students Association.

As an OU research student, you’ll also have access to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework Planner Tool to help you plan and keep a portfolio of your professional development.

Social media

Get involved with the OU research community by following our Graduate School Facebook page, as well as tweeting our research student community triumphs and news with @OUGradSch. Of course, alongside our official social media accounts, you can find many unofficial, student-led groups and pages offering support and community.

Graduate School Network logo

Your questions

For advice about applying for a research degree, or sponsoring a research student, email the Graduate School or call +44 (0)1908 654882.